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Open AccessArticle

The Incidence of Skin Cancer in Relation to Climate Change in South Africa

1
Environment and Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
2
Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
3
Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh Medical School, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK
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Environment and Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Johannesburg 2028, South Africa
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Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, PO Box 524, Auckland Park 2006, South Africa
6
Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Cape Town 7505, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(10), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10100634
Received: 29 August 2019 / Revised: 30 September 2019 / Accepted: 2 October 2019 / Published: 22 October 2019
Climate change is associated with shifts in global weather patterns, especially an increase in ambient temperature, and is deemed a formidable threat to human health. Skin cancer, a non-communicable disease, has been underexplored in relation to a changing climate. Exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the major environmental risk factor for skin cancer. South Africa is situated in the mid-latitudes and experiences relatively high levels of sun exposure with summertime UV Index values greater than 10. The incidence of skin cancer in the population group with fair skin is considered high, with cost implications relating to diagnosis and treatment. Here, the relationship between skin cancer and several environmental factors likely to be affected by climate change in South Africa are discussed including airborne pollutants, solar UVR, ambient temperature and rainfall. Recommended strategies for personal sun protection, such as shade, clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen, may change as human behaviour adapts to a warming climate. Further research and data are required to assess any future impact of climate change on the incidence of skin cancer in South Africa. View Full-Text
Keywords: air pollution; environmental health; rainfall; sun exposure; temperature air pollution; environmental health; rainfall; sun exposure; temperature
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wright, C.Y.; Norval, M.; Kapwata, T.; du Preez, D.J.; Wernecke, B.; Tod, B.M.; Visser, W.I. The Incidence of Skin Cancer in Relation to Climate Change in South Africa. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 634.

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